Sep. 17, 1998

The Artist

by William Carlos Williams


Today's Reading: "The Artist" by William Carlos Williams from COLLECTED POEMS 1939-1962, published by New Directions.

Itís the birthday of political cartoonist JEFF MacNELLY, in New York City, 1947. He became the youngest person to win a Pulitzer Prize for political cartooning when he won it at age 25 while working for the Richmond News Leader. Heís won two more Pulitzers and also draws the comic strip Shoe.

Itís the birthday of writer and counterculture icon KEN KESEY, in La Junta, Colorado, in 1935. He wrote the novels One Flew Over the Cuckooís Nest (1962) and Sometimes A Great Notion (1964), but also was the chief instigator of the Merry Pranksters, the ragtag group that spanned the Beat and Hippie generations and crisscrossed the country in the early í60s in a gaudily painted, ancient school bus, fueled by hallucinogenics, staging happenings along the way.

Country singer, songwriter and guitarist HANK WILLIAMS was born in Georgiana, Alabama, on this day in 1923, managed to turn himself into one of the most influential country artists of all time in a recording career that only lasted about six years, ending with his death—at the age of 29.

Itís the birthday of novelist MARY STEWART, in Sunderland, England, in 1916, the author of such Gothic mysteries as The Moon Spinners (1962), This Rough Magic (1964) and Touch Not the Cat (1976), as well as a trilogy about the medieval wizard Merlin, beginning with The Crystal Cave (1970).

English choreographer FREDERICK ASHTON was born in Guayaquil, Equador, in 1904.

Writer WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS was born in Rutherford, New Jersey, on this day in 1883. He was a full-time pediatrician who saw a million and a half patients and delivered 2,000 babies during his 40 year medical career, while scribbling ideas and phrases on prescription forms between patients and house calls, and creating a substantial literary reputation with hundreds of poems, novels, short stories, plays, essays and an opera libretto, culminating with a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1963 for Pictures from Brueghel.

One of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War, the BATTLE OF ANTIETAM, took place in 1862 along Antietam Creek, near the Potomac River in northern Maryland.

The UNITED STATES' CONSTITUTION was unanimously approved in 1787 by delegates from 12 states during the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

It was on this day in 1630 that BOSTON was officially named, after the town of the same name in Lincolnshire, England. The site had previously been called Shawmut by the Native Americans.

Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®




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